PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS OF MANAGING STUDENT HOTELS IN NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF UNIVERSITY OF UYO, HOSTELS)
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
According to Okoh (2004), Nigeria has the biggest university system in sub-Saharan Africa with 114 accredited tertiary institutions. More than 50% of these facilities have over 20,000 students each. Nigerian universities have experienced a significant rise in student enrolments over the past decades. However, the surge in students has not been matched by a corresponding growth in student accommodation and the available ones have not been properly managed. Figures from the National Universities Commission show that the provision of student housing is less than 30% of demand. The vast majority of students live in privately rented accommodation.
The bulk of “first-generation” universities in Nigeria have stopped funding student accommodation. Many of the newer universities have taken the private sector participation route, although the quality of accommodation varies widely. The student enrolment in tertiary institutions is growing at an average of 12% per annum and the provision of new purpose-built student housing is limited. This in itself creates opportunities for the development of student housing in many cities in Nigeria.
Akpan (2000) suggests that developers could partner with universities in build-operate-transfer arrangements on new accommodation. There are also opportunities for better management of existing accommodation. “While the majority of institutions may be reluctant to give up control, the deteriorating condition of the majority of university-owned halls of residence indicates the need to manage these assets in a different way.” Student accommodation should also have a strong focus on innovation and sustainability. “Developers need to be innovative in their approach to design, supplying functional accommodation, which incorporates the basic needs of students and provides additional facilities and services including laundry, internet services, relatively constant electricity, water supply, shuttle services, etc. The university community should be at the forefront of sustainability issues, this should be reflected in development and management (FRN, 2008).”
Okoh (2004) added that in the future, the availability, quality, and cost of student accommodation on offer will be a vital component for universities to lure good quality students. The increasing number of students in tertiary institutions in several Nigerian cities has caused serious accommodation problems and campus hostels can no longer cope with demand. The establishment of private hostels off-campus was initially perceived as a solution but landlords have taken advantage of the high demand by upping rentals and students are reeling under the financial burden. They have turned to the government for help.
There has been steady growth in the student population in tertiary institutions, most of which have been expanding their teaching, administrative and research infrastructures. But no effort has been made to provide more accommodation for students and staff. This has allegedly been a deliberate resource allocation policy, with tertiary institutions - at the regional and national level - uninterested in committing funding to accommodation (Akpan, 1998). Many tertiary institutions possess large amounts of land on which student hostels could be built. But it is claimed that private sector figures on university governing councils have discouraged government investment in building campus residences. Critics say that owners of houses and land near campuses made proposals to university authorities to build cheap and affordable accommodation for students. According to reliable sources, some university officials obtained bank loans to build hostels that are operated under holdings whose owners are often their relatives.
"The reason for this strange policy is not far-fetched. Members of the property class who have invested in the construction of these hostels would naturally want their investment to yield dividends," explained Akpan (1998). Today students are having a rough time at the hands of hostel owners whose primary obsession, has been alleged, is to maximize profit with little concern for students' welfare. Students have also complained about the absence of a learning environment in private hostels. You get the impression that you are, at times, in a shopping mall when you enter most private hostels in Nigerian universities (Ubong, 2001).
A portion of these hostels is transformed into mini markets with hawkers. At night and during the weekend the hostels are very noisy and movements in and out of the hostels are not restricted. However, the researcher will provide an overview of the problems and prospects of managing student hostel in Nigeria using the University of Uyo Hostel as a case study.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM Research into the management of student hostel in Nigerian universities has been on the front burner in recent times as steady growth in the student population in tertiary institutions has created the need for expansion in infrastructures including accommodation facilities. But no effort has been made to provide more accommodation for students and staff.
This study is seeking to find out if this situation is a deliberate resource allocation policy, with tertiary institutions - at the regional and national level - uninterested in committing funding to accommodation even in the face of tremendous challenges faced by students due to this poor scenario. The evolution of off-campus student hostels occurred as a result of poor management of the school-owned hostel accommodation. This development has not been able to eradicate the management challenges relating to the student hostel. The researcher will however provide an analysis on the problems and prospects of managing student hostels in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY The following are the objectives of this study:
To examine the problems in the management of student hostel in Nigerian universities. To examine the prospects in the management of student hostel in Nigerian universities. To find out ways by which management challenges in Nigerian universities hostel are curtailed.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
What are the problems in the management of student hostels in Nigerian universities? What are the prospects in the management of student hostels in Nigerian universities? What are the ways by which management challenges in Nigerian universities hostel are curtailed?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY The following are the significance of this study:
Findings from this study will enlighten the general public on the state of the hostel accommodation in Nigerian universities considering the problems and prospects. This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently if applied, it will go to an extent to provide a new explanation to the topic.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY This study will cover the overview of problems and prospects of managing student hostel in Nigeria using the university of Uyo student hostel as the case study.
LIMITATION OF STUDY Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview). Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted to the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS Accommodation: a room, group of rooms, or building in which someone may live or stay. Hostels: an establishment that provides inexpensive food and lodging for a specific group of people, such as students, workers. Management: the process of dealing with or controlling things or people.
REFERENCES Akpan, G. E. (1998). The effect of student income support on academic performance. The Nigerian Journal of Economic and Social Studies. 40 (2). 285, 293. Akpan, P. A. (2000). Housing conditions and environmental quality in Ikot Ekpene, Nigeria. African Journal of Social and Policy Studies. 1(1). 1-7. Federal Republic of Nigeria (1998). National policy on education. Lagos: NERDC Press. Okoh, J. D. (2004). Sustainable funding of higher education: Inter-country analysis. The Colloquium. 1(1). 7-10, 15-16. Ubong, B. (2001). Pupil personnel management in school: A new emphasis under the UBE scheme. Ahmadu Bello University Journal of Education, Legal, and Management Studies. 1 (2). 13